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The Parks Commission is recommending an invasive weed removal project for Community Preservation Act funding.

Pittsfield Environmental Group Looks to Eradicate Invasive Kiwi

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The youth environmental group Greenagers hopes to secure Community Preservation Act funds to continue invasive kiwi control work at Burbank Park.
 
The Parks Commission voted Tuesday to move the Greenagers initiative to CPA project eligibility review.
 
"They want to continue the work that they have done already," Recreation Activities Coordinator Becky Manship said.
 
Manship had said at a prior meeting that there had not been enough information so it could not be grouped in with other possible projects at that time.
 
Both Greenagers and the Berkshire Environmental Action Team have worked on removing the invasive hardy kiwi that, according to the Massachusetts Audubon Society, can grow in closed-canopy forests, climb surrounding trees, and overwhelm vegetation.
 
The woody vine can grow more than 20 feet per year and it bears green, grape-shaped fruit. Ice and snow that accumulates on the vines can cause trees to snap.
 
Manship said the group in the past has eradicated a third of the largest "amphitheater" and has also targeted patches in the park.
 
She said if the plant is not kept in check it will spread to other parks.
 
"They noted that it is an emerging invasive species which means we have a very short window of opportunity to control it before it spreads to other parks," she said. "It is important work that they have been doing and would like to continue to do."
 
Manship said, to her knowledge, the plant has not yet spread to other parks.
 
The commission also approved two park event requests. One from Barrington Stage, which wants to do free performances at the Common throughout the summer.
 
The other request was for the 8th annual Sweltering Summer Ultramarathon at Clapp Park in August. 
 
"Last year, we had runners from three countries, 20 states, and right around 100 people," organizer Benjamin Griffin said. "They have eight hours to do as many laps as they want to do. I think the winner was right around 52 miles." 
 
He said they have raised more than $23,000 for Moments House, a local cancer charity, in the past.

Tags: CPA,   parks commission,   

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Berkshire Humane Still Caring for Animals Despite Financial Struggles

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Humane Society has been forced to change operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic but its and care and support for animals will not waiver.
 
"We understand that this is a tough time for everyone. We just want people to know that the homeless animals in our care are still getting the same, nurturing level of care that they always do and we are continuing our programs to help pet owners keep pets in their loving homes," Executive Director, John Perreault said. "We appreciate the support the community has given us at this time. We'll work through this together and look forward to better times for both people and the animals they love."
 
The novel coronavirus has forced many businesses and organizations to close their doors or modify how they do business and this has been the case for the Berkshire Humane Society.
 
The nonprofit animal shelter has closed its doors to the public for the time being but is still allowing surrenders and adoptions, but only by appointment. Human contact has been limited and these appointments take place in a sterile area.
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